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article imageStudy: Waitresses wearing red get bigger tips from male patrons

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By Andrew Moran     Aug 6, 2012 in Lifestyle
Morbier - Lady in red? A new French study suggests that waitresses who sport the color red receive bigger tips from male customers. Meanwhile, female patrons are quite indifferent to the server's choice of colors.
There are many factors as to how much a male customer may tip a female server. It could be how pretty her smile is, if he feels the waitress is flirting with him or as simple as good service. But who would have thought that the color red would be a major factor in the level of a tip.
According to a new study by researchers at the University of South Brittany in France, which was published in the Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research, waitresses will garner a better tip if they wear the color red.
The study authors told 11 waitresses in five different restaurants to wear the same T-shirt in different colors: white, black, blue, red, yellow and green. Each server was instructed to not act any differently with 722 restaurant customers (418 males and 304 females) when wearing each shirt.
Out of all the colors that the waitresses wore, the color red gave the lady between 14.6 and 26.1 percent more in tips from the male customers, which surprised the conductors of the study because the French government implemented a 12 percent service charge on item menu prices.
“The present findings showed that red color was associated with an increase in male patrons’ tipping behavior. Men gave tips more often to a waitress who wore a red tee shirt, and when they did, they gave her a larger amount of money,” said Nicolas Guéguen, Professor of Social Behaviour at the University of Bretagne-Sud in France, and Céline Jacob, Associate-Professor of Marketing at the University of Bretagne-Sud in France.
“Our findings have some practical interest for waitresses who want to increase their incomes by increasing the tips left by customers. Color clothing is an easy and inexpensive method to use. As red color has no negative effect on women customers, it could be in their interest to wear red clothes at work.”
It was conducted each day for six weeks at lunchtime. The menu consisted of seafood, the restaurants were in two medium-sized cities and each study participant dined alone. The waitresses’ shirts were plain and did not consist of logos.
At the end of the published study, researchers noted that a similar study was conducted in 2010 that suggested women find men wearing red are more attractive and sexually desirable.
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